2014 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) and Defense Strategy: Issues for Congress [February 24, 2014] [open pdf - 292KB]
"By statute, the Department of Defense (DOD) is required, by Section 118, Title 10, U.S. Code, to submit to Congress a report based on its most recent Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) process, no later than the President submits his budget request for Fiscal Year 2015. The '2014 QDR' review process took place against the backdrop of key changes in the global strategic context, recent evolutions in U.S. strategic priorities, and a tighter fiscal context. The 2014 process also drew on a series of recent reviews and guidance documents--a 2011 DOD 'comprehensive review' initially launched by Secretary of Defense Gates and continued by Secretary of Defense Panetta; the January 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance document (DSG), and the 2013 review process known as the Strategic Choices and Management Review (SCMR). Statute prescribes that DOD, in each QDR process, 'delineate a national defense strategy;' determine the force structure, modernization plans, and infrastructure required to implement that strategy; and craft an associated budget plan. Statute also spells out 16 items--as well as any other matter the Secretary considers appropriate--that the QDR report must address. More broadly, a QDR process, and its associated report, may play any number of helpful roles: refining and updating defense strategic thinking; forging a shared vision within DOD of both priorities, and roles and missions; helping ensure a common view across the Executive Branch, of the role of DOD, in cooperation with other Departments and agencies, in support of broader national security strategy; facilitating Congressional oversight; communicating a sense of defense strategy to the American people, the taxpayers; and signaling intent abroad, to reassure Allies and partners and deter or dissuade potential foes."
CRS Report for Congress, R43403
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html